I used to be really involved in ministry before we started our family. I traveled with a worship band to conferences all over Canada and to the United States, I taught courses in a School of Worship that the church I worked at used to run. Worship, ministry and discipleship were what filled up a lot of my time. When I got married I slowed down a bit to spend more time at home with my new hubby and when we had kids I cleared my plate of almost everything except leading worship at our home church.
I embraced being a new Mom with vigor. I loved everything about motherhood and I still do but I started to miss doing the things I used to do, but whenever I tried to book something I found it falling through either because a baby got sick and couldn’t go on the trip or my kids just needed me at home. I was starting to feel in a funk. Finding out who you are and what you are called to in each season can be a challenge. But God doesn’t take back gifts He gave us AND he calls us to not give up but to continue to press on to know him. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself in your season of ‘no’, your season of rest, or your season of ‘just wait’ to discover how to continue pressing on:
1.) Who am I?
My ‘take away’ from that season of saying ‘no’ to almost everything had nothing to do with my identity. I wasn’t trading being a worship leader or a teacher or anything else FOR being a Mother because I AM a wife and mother first in every season. My take away from that season was that who I am, my spiritual gifts, my calling, is branded into me just as much as my personality and sense of humor are a part of who I am. Our identity before God isn’t broken into callings, giftings, or roles that we take off and put off like pieces of clothing. Whether anyone sees me do anything publicly isn’t not as important as who I am at my core. I may not be a ‘worship leader’ in this season but I am a worshiper in EVERY season. I am also an encourager, I am a teacher, I am a leader. These things don’t change with the seasons. Titles come and go but the gifts of God are irrevocable. Maybe you need to sit in a quiet place and start to journal out this question. Who are you?
2.) How am I meant to use my giftings in this season?
If you are struggling with a sense of purpose, sometimes just re-framing what you are doing as being unimportant and realizing its eternal value or seeing it as worship to God can give us perspective. During this period of time for me I led worship for my own soul and no one else. I sang for Him. I took a lot of the things I used to do to serve the church and got paid to do and used them in my own house to participate with the work that God was doing in our family. Everyone has something to give and as soon as you know who you are then you can find somewhere to use that. A ministry being public or private makes it no more less valuable. In fact, to encourage the person that feels that they aren’t noticed the story of the widow giving out of her poverty comes to mind. God drew attention to something small and private because it was of great value to Him. Don’t look down on what you do as small, but find something to give and be intentional about it.
3.) What are my spheres of influence?
This is so freeing because in different seasons God will give us more and less influence for different reasons. It’s also freeing because often when we feel ineffective it’s because we are trying to do things outside of what God has called us to do. During this season my primary sphere of influence was my family, my local church (which had dwindled in numbers to a very small church) and my friends. Sounds pretty simple huh? I learned so much in this season about having a deep love for the church. Any frustration even judgement that I had held in the past towards the congregation as a worship leader completely disappeared as I invested in relationship, went to small groups, had ladies over for tea and formed friendships. I believe we are ALL called to ‘Go and make disciples’. I believe the great commission is for all of us, men and women alike. I have 5 little disciples in my house. How would you change as a Mom if you viewed motherhood as less of raising children and more of discipling the next generation. Your influence as a Mom is profound over your children’s spiritual health.
In the same way, I’m in a covenant life long relationship with Matthew. Our relationship grows and changes with each season but our impact on each other only deepens. During this season what I used to run to meetings to hope prophets would speak over me, there was only Matthew. His words of encouragement were my water in a dessert season. We do that for each other, we speak over and over again to each other who we are we the enemy of our soul wants so much for us to become discouraged and lost.
4.) What is this season about?
Jesus loves living examples and parables. He weaves them into our lives if we are willing to lean and listen. During this season the voice of God felt incredibly distant, quiet, less obvious. He stopped speaking to me in thunder and started speaking to me in whispers. It might be something simple like one of my babies reaching up towards me and I would just feel in my feel that His desire to pick up and hold His children was there in an even stronger way than my own natural desire to scoop up my kids. As soon as we call he stoops to pick us up. He gets no pleasure out of watching us exasperated or frustrated. My heart expanded with love for His church as I found the love of the Father. This season the Lord taught me that He responds out of His own goodness and love for us and not in response to my striving or attempts to earn His affections. What is the living lesson of this season. What is He whispering to you?
5.) Get Ready!
It’s only a season. Do not allow yourself to become apathetic by taking your season of rest and turning it into a season of stand still. Is your heart ready for what God wants to do next? My heart needed to heal. That healing took time, but I did not want to walk into the net season bitter or cynical in any way. Is your house in order? Tend to your family relationships and use this season of rest to grow closer and stronger. Maybe it’s a good time to do a family budget and work together on some home renovations. One of the most important parts of getting ready is thanks giving. There is nothing wrong with dreaming but dreaming can often leave us dissatisfied. When we thank God for what He’s doing right now and what He’s going to do, our hearts are changed and we are ready for what is coming next. God does not take complainers into new lands.
We need to allow ourselves to get excited and fight doubt and shame. The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable … but the devil does not want you to know that! Perhaps you are fighting doubt and shame about whether God really called you to something in the first place. SHUT THAT DOWN! Go back through everything God has spoken to you that is directional for your life and start to speak it, pray it, shout it …out loud… over yourself. This is not prideful. Confidence and pride are NOT the same thing. If our confidence comes from Christ then of course God wants us to be confident sons and daughters. I have a word for YOU. After winter must come spring. Your Spring is coming, the seed you planted in the ground is not dead …it’s only sleeping and when the ground begins to warm it’s gonna break open, grow and produce fruit.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. – Pslam 126:5-6 NIV